I suggest, about the meaning of physis, to read the two respective voices on the SUIDAS lexicon, available on-line; http://www.stoa.org/sol/ it is a lexicon of the byzantine period, but the language is practically the same as ancient Greek, so it gives explanations of mother-tongue people, it is clear that they are highly valuable. I give the two voices Headword: Φύσις Adler number: phi,863 Translated headword: nature Vetting Status: low Translation: Nature is the movement without qualification of the existent things. It [is understood] in five modes. (1) The intelligent [nature], such as the one existing in the Angels on account of their thoughts associating each other. (2) The rational [nature], such as [the one existing] in human beings, that makes public to the external [people] the unnoticed motions of the soul through names and words. (3) The perceptual [nature] is the one considered in irrational beings. [One] also has acquired the perceptual [nature], in addition to the nutritive, the growing, and the generative power. (4) The vegetative [nature] is the one [existing] in plants. For [plants] also move themselves according to the nutritive, the growing and the generative power. (5) However, [something is] inanimate, like stones, insofar as it is moved by itself according to quality and to place. According to quality when it is heated and made cold; according to place by transposition from a place to [another] place, [being] incapable of self motion. Greek Original: Φύσις: φύσις ἐστὶν ἡ ἁπλω̂ς τω̂ν ὄντων κίνησις, πεντάτροπος δὲ αὕτη: ἡ νοερά, ὡς ἐπὶ ̓Αγγέλων, ἐξ αὐτω̂ν τω̂ν νοημάτων ἀλλή- λοις συγγινομένων. λογική, ὡς ἐπὶ ἀνθρώπων δι' ὀνομάτων καὶ ῥημάτων τὰ ἀφανη̂ τη̂ς ψυχη̂ς κινήματα πρὸς τοὺς ἐκτὸς δημοσιεύουσα: αἰσθητικὴ δὲ ἡ ἐν τοι̂ς ἀλόγοις θεωρουμένη: πρὸς γὰρ τῃ̂ θρεπτικῃ̂ καὶ αὐξητικῃ̂ καὶ γεννητικῃ̂ δυνάμει καὶ τὴν αἰσθητικὴν κέκτηται: φυτικὴ δὲ ἡ ἐν τοι̂ς φυτοι̂ς: κινου̂νται γὰρ καὶ αὐτὰ κατὰ τὴν θρεπτικὴν καὶ αὐξητικὴν καὶ γεννητικὴν δύναμιν: ἄψυχος δέ, ὡς ἐπὶ τω̂ν λίθων, καθότι καὶ αὐτοὶ κινου̂νται κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν καὶ κατὰ τὸ που̂: καὶ κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν μέν, κατὰ τὸ θερμαίνεσθαι καὶ ψύχεσθαι, κατὰ τὸ που̂ δέ, κατὰ τὴν ἐκ τόπου εἰς τόπον ἑτεροκίνητον μετάθεσιν.
Headword: Φύσις Adler number: phi,864 Translated headword: nature Vetting Status: low Translation: [Nature] is that which both holds the world together and which makes things on the earth grow. Or as follows: [nature is] a condition which is moved by itself in accordance with the seminal reasons, that which completes and holds together the things coming from it at determined periods of time, and which performs those activities from which they are distinguished. And nature aims at utility, as is obvious from craftsmanship of heaven. Or nature is a principle of the whole, it is both the motion and rest of each existing thing. For example, earth is set in motion in the process of growing, breeding and, in general, being altered. However, it rests in the change from one place to another, even though it is completely unmovable and pathless. Now they call 'nature' the substantial principle (that is to say the 'natural') of such a motion and rest, namely the principle that inheres in earth not incidentally. But they have not called 'nature' the motion itself and the rest of things, but 'principle', that is 'cause', in virtue of which substances are set in motion and rest not incidentally but substantially. But when the Apostle says 'we were the offspring of anger by nature', just like the rest, he does not express in this assertion the meaning of nature (since the accusation would be against the one responsible for doing it); what he means is the abiding, long time and worst disposition: a perverse intimacy. Greek Original: Φύσις ἐστὶν ἥ τε συνέχουσα τὸν κόσμον καὶ ἡ φύουσα τὰ ἐπὶ τη̂ς γη̂ς. ἢ οὕτως: ἕξις ἐξ αὑτη̂ς κινουμένη κατὰ σπερματικοὺς λόγους, ἀποτελου̂σά τε καὶ συνέχουσα τὰ ἐξ αὐτη̂ς ἐν ὡρισμένοις χρόνοις καὶ τοιαυ̂τα δρω̂σα, ἀφ' οἵων ἀπεκρίθη. ταύτην δὲ του̂ συμφέροντος στοχάζεσθαι, ὡς δη̂λον ἐκ τη̂ς οὐρανου̂ δημιουργίας. ἢ φύσις ἐστὶν ἀρχὴ τω̂ν ὅλων, τη̂ς ἑκάστου τω̂ν ὄντων κινήσεώς τε καὶ ἠρεμίας. οἱ̂ον ἡ γη̂ κινει̂ται μὲν κατὰ τὸ βλαστάνειν καὶ ζῳογονει̂ν καὶ τὸ ὅλως ἀλλοιου̂σθαι: ἠρεμει̂ δὲ κατὰ τὴν ἐκ τόπου εἰς τόπον μετάστασιν, ἀκίνητος οὐ̂σα παντελω̂ς καὶ ἀπόρευτος. τὴν οὐ̂ν ἀρχὴν τη̂ς τοιαύτης κινήσεώς τε καὶ ἠρεμίας οὐσιωδω̂ς, ἤγουν φυσικω̂ς, καὶ οὐ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς τῃ̂ γῃ̂ ἐνυπάρχουσαν, φύσιν καλου̂σιν. οὐ τὴν κίνησιν δὲ αὐτὴν καὶ τὴν ἠρεμίαν τω̂ν πραγμάτων φύσιν εἰρήκασιν, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀρχήν, τουτέστι τὴν αἰτίαν, καθ' ἣν οὐ κατὰ συμβεβηκός, ἀλλ' οὐσιωδω̂ς αἱ οὐσίαι κινου̂νται καὶ ἠρεμου̂σιν. ὅταν δὲ λέγῃ ὁ ̓Απόστολος, καὶ ἠ̂μεν τέκνα φύσει ὀργη̂ς, ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποί, οὐ κατὰ του̂το τὸ σημαινόμενον τη̂ς φύσεως λέγει: ἐπεὶ του̂ ποιήσαντος ἂν ἠ̂ν τὸ ἔγκλημα: ἀλλὰ τὴν ἔμμονον καὶ κακίστην διάθεσιν καὶ χρονίαν, πονηρὰν συνήθειαν.
Headword: ̓Αλήθεια καὶ ἀληθής. ̓Αληθη̂ Adler number: alpha,1175 Translated headword: truth and true Vetting Status: low Translation: They are said alethe ["true things"] and tas aletheias ["the truths"] in the plural. Menander in Aphrodisian [writes]: "if the truths which someone tells you straight..." Greek Original: ̓Αλήθεια καὶ ἀληθής. ̓Αληθη̂ καὶ τὰς ἀληθείας πληθυντικω̂ς λέγουσι. Μένανδρος ̓Αφροδισίῳ: εἰ τὰς ἀληθείας ἃς ἁπλω̂ς τίς σοι λέγει.
The SUIDAS lexicon has more than 20.000 voices, almost the totality has been translated in English and put on the WEB by STOA. Anyhow we owe to German philologists the printed editions of this lexikon, there is one by THEODOR MOMMSEN and also another by somebody else. These are really commendable books.
I forgot, if you go to this WEB-site and search for SUIDAS LEXICON, you will find two printed editions of it, one of them from Immanuel Bekker, another celebrated German philologist; they are free but, unluckily, not downloadable.
"What do people think of Heidegger's definition of aletheia and the distinction he made between it, and the Latin veritas?" Two points.
First, for Heidegger, the main distinction is not between the Greeks and the Romans (or between the Greeks and the westerners), but rather between the early Greeks and the later Greeks. Heidegger claims that the pre-Socratic sages and poets correctly construed truth as aletheic -- that is, as "uncovering" that which is hidden. Things begin to go wrong, Heidegger claims, with Plato and Aristotle, who launched the now-traditional assumption that truth and falsity pertain to "apophantic" judgments of the 'subject-is-predicate' form (see Being and Time, H33 and following). To my knowledge, Heidegger and his followers are the only scholars who claim we can see in texts that the early Greeks really did regard truth as non-apophantic. Unable myself to read the originals, I can't say; but I suspect that pre-Socratics like Homer and Hesiod probably were quite vague on this, to them, esoteric and extraneous question, and that Heidegger is over-construing for his own philosophical purposes.
Second, whatever its historical or philological merits, Heidegger's "definition" doesn't work philosophically. Two points here. First, Heidegger's claim seems to be an apophantic claim. If indeed it is apophantic, then we have a muddle; for all apophantic claims are per se misleading, according to Heidegger. In order, correctly, to show that truth is aletheic, Heidegger apparently would have to establish this in a non-apophantic way; and it is not clear how he (or anyone else) might venture to do this. Second, it is hard to see what happens to logic if truth actually is aletheic. For truths then would not have definite negations, and there would be no contradictions or inferences. So (among other things) if someone disagreed with Heidegger, it's hard to see how Heidegger could regard the dissenting view as inconsistent with his own. Heideggerians of course disagree with me regarding these points. I've gone round and round with them as to whether they can get by without logic, or -- if they need logic -- what an aletheic logic would consist in.